The Story of the Scars, a Sermon for Easter Sunday

The Story of the Scars, a Sermon for Easter Sunday
Scripture: John 20:1-20; Isaiah 53:5

Offered Sunday, 4/4/2021 via Facebook Live at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Gates of heaven joke

Mary goes to the tomb early in the morning. Can you imagine the conversation that’s happening the rest of the day! Jesus shows up in the evening. He shows up with “Peace be with you.” He shows up with his scars.                                

Where they nailed his hands and feet. Where they pierced his side with a spear. Where they slapped him and pulled out his beard. Where the flogged him on his back. Where they placed a crown of thorns on his head.

Every one of his scars tells a story- Injustice. Betrayal. Denial. Grace. Truth. Love. Victory.                  

What scars have you brought with you today? What stories do they tell?

Maybe they aren’t scars yet,  maybe they’re still wounds.

Scott Erickson, quote adapted. It starts with our own wounds. Because to bring your own wounds is to ask the Divine “Are you involved in my life at all?” Then we will encounter the wounds of those we love, and ask “are You here too?” Friends, strangers, every wound in the world begs the same question…. IS NEWNESS POSSIBLE?

Yes, newness is possible. This is the story of Jesus’ scars.

Isaiah 53:5, NIV UK. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; (wrongdoings) the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

*********************************

You can find us live on Facebook Sundays at 9 AM and 10:30 AM, and Wednesdays at 8 AM.

© 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

Fresco of Christ creating the sun, moon and stars from the St. Paraskevi Shrine, Greenlawn, NY

This hymn text was born during my seminary days during some quiet time spent with Colossians 1:15-18.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. (NRSV)

In this passage, creation is described as an ongoing act. The fullness of Trinity is found: Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer; yet all things are created and are held together through Christ, the Word spoken in creation, the eternal Word made flesh.

I woke up this morning surprised to be reminded of this song. I haven’t thought about it in years, but it wants to accompany me this holy week. I pray it is a welcome companion to you as well. – Lisa <><

Bless Christ Through Whom All Things Are Made
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
a hymn text based on Col. 1:15-18
Meter 88.88 (LM)
Suggested Tune- POXON

Bless Christ through whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

Who makes the lion and the lamb
the farthest star, the smallest hand
dominions, rulers, and their pow’rs
the steadfast mount, the fleeting hours?

Who made the ore for blood soaked nails?
Who made the thorns and whipping tails?
Who made the sun that would not shine
and made the tree on which Christ died?

Who makes the waters of our birth?
Who makes the dust where we return?
Who makes the way for us to die
and rise to everlasting life?

Bless Christ though whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

This text was selected to be part of a United Methodist worship resource entitled Worship and Song. Each lyric or liturgy I write feels like a gift. I am excited and thrilled that this gift will be shared with so many.

For a PDF of the hymn as it will appear in the Worship and Song pew edition, click here Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

© 2000, revised 2009
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The King is Coming, a Sermon for Palm Sunday

The King is Coming, a Sermon for Palm Sunday
Scripture: John 12:1-19; Zechariah 9:9-10

Offered Sunday, 3/29/2021 via Facebook Live at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

The King is coming
The people announced it.
It filled the streets like the perfume filled the house the night before.
“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”

The King is coming.
The disciples remembered it.
Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Hosanna! The King is coming, triumphant and victorious
Riding into Jerusalem just like Solomon did centuries before
Ending the dispute over who’s the one true King

Jesus, Jesus is the King of kings
Greater than the Roman war machine
Greater than the Pax Romana
With Jesus its Eternal Peace-
wrong made right through humility, and vulnerability, and sacrifice
Eternal Peace- Pax Eterna

Zechariah 9:10
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Hosanna! The King is coming. The Anointed One- the Christ
Anointed by Mary in gratitude and love for raising her brother Lazarus from the dead
Anointed by Mary, blessed to reign as King forever
Anointed by Mary, blessed to bear God’s grace as high priest forever
Anointed by Mary, a holy sacrifice anointed for death
The last sacrifice ever needed
A sacrifice so great it overcomes all sin, all death, for all time

Hosanna! The King is coming. The King over death.
Jesus raised Lazarus
Only a few days later he’ll lay down his own life and take it up again
Hosanna! The King over death. And he will raise us up as well.
Hosanna! The King over death.
All the little deaths. All the little injustices.
All the big deaths. All the big injustices.
Hosanna to the King over death.
Hosanna! Save now.

This is why so many are going after him.
He raised Lazarus from the dead.
This spectacular miracle.
This quick, spectacular fix.

This is what the people were testifying to.
Hosanna to the King of Israel. Hosanna to the King over death.

How many will go after him when his work becomes small?
When his work becomes slow?
When his work becomes sacrifice?

How many will go after him when his work includes our work?
When his work includes our “yes” – our time, our prayer, our money, our hands, our sacrifice
When the hungry come and Jesus says, “You feed them”
When the night of anguish comes and Jesus says, “stay awake, watch and pray with me”
When it’s time to deny ourselves, and take up our cross, and follow
Follow the King- the King of kings, the King of death, the King of sacrifice

Hosanna! The King is coming
The leaders said, “what can you do, the world has gone after him
Have you gone after Him?
Are you following him?
testifying to him?
serving him?
trusting him?

The King is still coming
The gracious King
The King of kings
The King of death
The King of sacrifice

Our humble King
Our King, triumphant and victorious
Let us go after Him

*********************************

You can find us live on Facebook Sundays at 9 AM and 10:30 AM, and Wednesdays at 8 AM.

© 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Tell Me, Dear Tree: A Lenten Hymn of Sacrifice

Crucifixion Tree outside the walled city of Mdina. Photo by Antoine Pace via TrekEarth.com

Jesus’ suffering on the cross was a correct diagnosis and revelation of the human dilemma. It was an invitation to enter into solidarity with the pain of the world, and our own pain, instead of always resisting it, avoiding it, or denying it. Lady Julian of Norwich, my favorite Christian mystic, understood it so well, and she taught, in effect, that “There is only one suffering and we all share in it.” – Richard Rohr

Tell me, Dear Tree
A Lenten hymn of sacrifice
Meter- 86.86 double (CMD)
Suggested tune: KINGSFOLD (United Methodist Hymnal #179)

Tell me dear tree on which my Lord, my blessed Lord did hang,
How could you hold the spotless Lamb, be party with the gang?
That cheerless day, that shadowy hour, my blessed Savior died,
to free my soul for heavenly things, O tree, you must have cried.

Yes all your fibers must have screamed for you one time did live
a green and growing tree, alive, but your whole self did give
to be the instrument of death, to be the very tree
to be the place for Christ to die upon dark Calvary

Wait! Do I hear a shout of joy from somewhere deep within?
Your duty done; the battle won so all the world might win.
How beautiful your love for Him. He sewed it long ago
You bore the weight. You took the stain, and now the world must know

The tree of death felt every wound, felt all the pain and loss.
She loved her maker through it all, was glad to be His cross.
Teach me dear tree on which my Lord, My precious Lord did die
To treasure grueling duties done so Christ is lifted high

***************************
BONUS- Steve Garnaas Holmes offers a simple, powerful reflection and prayer on John 3:14-15 entitled Lifted Up on his blog, Unfolding Light.

© 1992, revised 2009 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form. Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to original music.

A Prayer for Veterans

800px-Korean_War_Veterans_Memorial_-_July_2012

Korean War Veterans Memorial, photo by Agamitsudo via Wikimedia Commons

Let us pause to honor, thank, and remember all who served in the military, living or dead.

Speak or comment below the names of veterans you know, including yourself if you served in the military.⁠⁠

Jesus, we hear your words, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NRSV)⁠

Jesus, we are grateful for those who are like you, those who sacrifice and serve for a greater good. Strengthen all we have mentioned and thousands more who put the welfare of others ahead of their own safety.⁠

Help all military personnel to serve with honor, wisdom, and compassion. Guard them against hard-heartedness, despair, and evil. ⁠

Bring help and healing to all who still struggle in body, mind, and spirit because of what they have experienced.⁠

Strengthen and bless military families, especially when they are separated one from another. Console and comfort military families, especially those who continue to grieve loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. ⁠

Surround us all with your protection. Fill us all with your grace. Lead us all with your truth and light.

Micah 4:1-4 NRSV
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

God of All, it is your will for the nations to seek you and to know you.
It is your will for us to live together in peace, provision, and equity.

End the selfishness.
End the mistrust and misinformation.
End the violence.

Bring wholeness and hope to every system, relationship, and person broken by war.

Empower us all to pray and work for your promised peace.
Give us the courage to act and your wisdom to know what to do.

We ask this in the strong name of Jesus
Our Savior, our Lord
The Prince of Peace
Who taught us to pray…

Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

********************
A Prayer for Veterans © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.